In crime movies and TV shows, defense attorneys often resort to a plea of not guilty because of insanity or say their clients are incompetent to stand trial to save the defendants from unfavorable verdicts.
Insanity and incompetency are sometimes the only viable arguments when the defense has no helpful evidence and testimonies to corroborate their claim of innocence.
In fictional courts on-screen, psychologists explain to the jury the circumstances and symptoms suggesting that at least when the defendants committed the crimes they are being charged with now, they were mentally disturbed.
Therefore the court should send them to mental hospitals instead of prisons.
Although the argument of insanity is not a quite common legal defense in real-world criminal trials,
it does come up now and then, just like what happens with a double murder case allegedly committed by mentally disturbed Austin Harrouff.
In August 2016, Austin was arrested at the crime scene almost immediately after killing his neighbors Michelle and John Stevens. Before the killings, Austin reportedly claimed he was an immortal being with superpowers.
10 /10 Average Decent Guy
Before August 2016, there had been no indication to suggest that Austin was nothing but a typical American young man. He was born in 1996 and grew up in Florida.
His parents divorced when he was a toddler, but all things considered, Austin had an everyday life. He played football and had good grades, so he was an average yet decent young adult on paper.
After high school, he enrolled at Florida State University, where he spent several years studying, partying, and wrestling. Then August 2016 came when he started seeing an “evil presence” at home.
9 /10 Much Needed Protection
At first, Austin told his family he needed to protect them from the evil presence. Soon enough, the unreasonable suggestion escalated to a claim that he was an immortal being blessed with superpowers.
His outrageous words often make no sense at all, leading to verbal fights with his father. Some nights his sister even locked her door, for she was afraid that Austin would do something terrible to her.
He searched for supernatural-related terms on his computers, such as selling soul to the devil and obsessive thoughts. His browser history also shows a query about “schizophrenic” symptoms.